The Main Stage on the Saturday at Oxegen 2006.
|Dates||8–9 July 2006|
|Location(s)||Punchestown Racecourse, County Kildare, Ireland|
Oxegen 2006 was the third Oxegen festival to take place, following the dissolution of its predecessor Witnness in 2004. It took place on the weekend of Saturday, 8 July and Sunday, 9 July at Punchestown Racecourse near Naas in County Kildare, Ireland. The festival was headlined by Red Hot Chili Peppers on the Sunday and The Who on the Saturday.
- 1 Build-up
- 2 Festival
- 3 Aftermath
- 4 Broadcasting rights
- 5 Stages
- 6 References
- 7 External links
A limited number of tickets for the 2006 festival went on sale a week after the 2005 festival on Friday, 15 July. Following a one week presale in late February, tickets went on sale to the general public on Friday 3 March 2006 at 8 am Weekend camping tickets were priced at €160. This allocation of tickets was completely sold out within 48 hours, leaving many fans disappointed. Growing popularity among younger audiences, massive MTV (UK and Ireland) coverage of the festival, and tickets being on sale for a much longer length of time were said to have been some of the reasons for the festival selling out earlier than usual. A small number of tickets went on sale on 4 July 2006 but quickly sold out.
On Monday 20 February, Oxegen 2006 was launched and the first acts (including headliners The Who and Red Hot Chili Peppers, as well as The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand and Kaiser Chiefs) were officially announced. On Friday 24 February, Placebo and Timo Maas were added to the line-up. On Tuesday 28 February, Paul Weller and The Charlatans were announced alongside Pharrell, Editors, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Go! Team, Eels and The Kooks. On Thursday 2 March, Goldfrapp, Ben Harper, Hard-Fi and Damien Dempsey were officially confirmed for Oxegen. Also performing were Republic of Loose, Bell X1, Director, The Marshals and The Blizzards.
- Hot showers were made available for the first time.
The festival itself encountered bad weather which eclipsed previous records. However, following rain, strong wind, a low temperature, and general stormy conditions on the Saturday, the weather improved on Sunday afternoon with sunny skies and a cool, gentle breeze ensuring a decrease in wet festival-goers.
Stages and performances
In the 2006 festival, The Ticket Stage was re-branded as the NME Stage, MTV sponsored the Dance Arena instead of the Main Stage, and the Pet Sounds Stage was added to the festival. The Pet Sounds stage was on the Saturday night unexpectedly headlined by Kasabian who had remained unannounced as an official act in the lead up to the festival. The New Band Stage, Green Room and Bacardi B-Live Arena all returned. The Green Room increased in size, while the Dance Arena was moved to an indoor venue. The MTV/VH1 live tent, located backstage at the 2005 festival was moved into the main festival area. Amongst the bands and artists that performed on the New Band Stage were The Fratellis, The Automatic, Humanzi, Lily Allen, Paolo Nutini and Boy Kill Boy.
On the Saturday night, The Who headlined the Main Stage, performing live in Ireland for the first time in 35 years. They delivered a rousing set that included hits "My Generation", "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again". After The Who had completed their show, James Brown took to the Main Stage in what turned out to be his last ever live performance at a festival in Ireland. Earlier in the evening, The Strokes lit up the Main Stage with a series of flashy lights, with festival-goers running to the Main Stage to witness their powerful set. More danced down to the Main Stage later on as the first riffs of "Last Nite" were ejaculated into the night sky. The weather caused numerous sound problems on the Saturday, noticeably at HARD-Fi's set in particular; the band were followed late in the afternoon by the arrival of Arctic Monkeys to a live Irish audience.
The NME Stage was headlined by Richard Ashcroft who would return two years later with his band The Verve to bring the Main Stage to a close on the Saturday night of Oxegen 2008. Before that Editors made the most of their promotion from their New Band Stage status of the previous year to deliver a performance that included songs from their debut album The Back Room - "Blood", "Munich", "All Sparks", "Bullets" - as well as a debut Oxegen performance for new song "Bones" which featured on their second album An End Has a Start and opened their Main Stage set on the Friday night of Oxegen 2008. Earlier in the night, as The Strokes performed on the Main Stage, Feeder were on the NME Stage, with hit "Buck Rogers" a central part of their performance, before the usual set finisher "Just a Day".
On the Sunday, The Kooks performed on an NME Stage which was clearly too small for them and their large army of fans; for the 2007 and 2008 festivals they were promoted to the Main Stage. When Franz Ferdinand had completed their Main Stage set on the Sunday evening, the action on the large screens at either side of the stage switched to BBC One where the World Cup Final had gone down to a penalty shootout. A chorus of cheers and boos were to be heard from the crowd as the game finished off. The drama was followed by a headlining performance from Red Hot Chili Peppers who performed in Ireland for the fourth time in five summers. They opened their set with "Can't Stop", "Dani California", "Scar Tissue" and "Charlie" before finishing off the night with "By the Way", "Under the Bridge" and "Give It Away".
The campsite did have a makeshift stage, made out of cardboard, tents, clothes and bags, on the early hours of the Saturday night/Sunday morning called "The Trumpet Stage". It was for anyone who wanted to get up to perform any songs they wanted with just an acoustic guitar could. Most notably roadies from UK band The Kooks and musician Rob Smith. The "stage" lasted just under half an hour before being destroyed.
- Kaiser Chiefs and Kasabian had to be kept apart by security at Oxegen 2006 when Kasabian singer Tom Meighan threatened to smack Ricky Wilson after his group branded Kasabian "sh**" in an interview. Meighan fumed:
"The next time I see Ricky I'm going to punch him in the face. I can't believe the Kaiser Chiefs dissed us - they are ones to talk."
- The Daily Mirror reported that The Who needed to produced ID to get back stage at Oxegen 2006. Roger Daltrey and the rest of the band were not recognised by security;
"One guard even thought they were just old groupies of the Arctic Monkeys."
- Members of Dirty Pretty Things were reported to have attacked MTV presenter Zane Lowe when he tried to stop them smoking backstage at Oxegen 2006.
"The band were on a bender and lit up in a no-smoking area. When Zane asked them to stop, guitarist Dids punched him and the others joined in."
"Luckily Zane was OK and didn't make a fuss about it."
International short film label Future Shorts Ireland attended Oxegen 2006 as part of their summer tour of Irish festivals, which also included the Electric Picnic. Working in partnership with Kaleidoscope Productions, they presented a line-up of acclaimed international short films alongside up and coming Irish directors and provided a performance platform for innovative and experimental musicians.
The Irish Times reported that representatives from the Pensions Board were to attend Oxegen 2006 in a bid to convince more young people to start saving for retirement. They also targeted thousands of gig-goers heading to the Electric Picnic music festival.
Security arrangements at Oxegen were criticised as being poor by some sections of the media. The camp-site was not free from trouble in 2006 troublesome, with some reports of tent-burning and an alleged stabbing on the Sunday night/Monday morning of the festival. In the Green Room there was seen to be a considerable leak allowing rain into the enclosed tent.
There were 225 arrests for drugs (with 13 charged for possession with intent to supply), an alleged rape,  and the Evening Herald reported that around 250 people were treated for alcohol and drug abuse. Fears were raised of a bad batch of the drug ecstasy when 40 people were sent to Naas General Hospital, but no evidence of such a batch was found.
At present, the previously lively official forum remains shut down, presumably as a result of postings on the message board which would generate negative publicity for the event. As internet users reported on the event at boards.ie, Ireland's largest web-based discussion forum, MCD pressed for legal action to prevent such postings from surfacing.
Three people were killed in a road accident in Portlaoise, County Laois whilst returning from Oxegen 2006. The accident occurred on the N8 at Clonad on the Portlaoise to Abbeyleix road at 2.45 pm on Monday 10 July. Gardaí said that two males and one female were killed when the car in which they were travelling was in collision with a lorry. Another male who was in the car is said to have been seriously injured. He has been taken to Portlaoise General Hospital. The dead were later named as Paul Geary, 21, from Mitchelstown, Thomas Frewen, 22, from Kilworth, and his sister Mary Frewen, 19.
Boards.ie sued by MCD
In response to negative postings about the festival on boards.ie, MCD sent a letter via their solicitors to the administrators of the site threatening legal action. As a result, the administrators were forced to ban all discussion of MCD and related events. As of Friday 11 August 2006, MCD had entered into legal proceedings against boards.ie for comments regarding Oxegen on their discussion forums. Mention of any MCD event - including any of its stage concerts throughout the country - continues to be banned on boards.i.e. Discussion of its venues, The Ambassador and The Olympia, is also prohibited.
The Irish Independent were also threatened with legal action on their coverage of the Oxegen festival. Justin Green of MCD told the paper: "We must warn you that in the event that an article critical of the event is published, we will take whatever action is necessary to prevent damage to the Oxegen event or MCD Productions."
Because of MCD's legal threats, many bloggers and internet discussion board users believe the incidents at Oxegen were under-reported in the Irish media. Liberal web magazine Indymedia referred to MCD as "burying" the discussion. The review section of the Sunday Tribune dated 20 August 2006 featured extensive coverage of the situation to date  (registration required).
While MCD's Justin Green said that he was "ecstatic with the success of the event [in 2006], as are the Gardaí and Kildare County Council," questions arise over security and safety for patrons of the festival. MCD did not announce that it would take precautions against the serious anti-social behaviour seen in 2006, nor did it detail the exact security staffing of the 2006 festival which could have allowed them to happen. This was said to be a matter of concern for 2007 and future years.
Oxegen 2006 had at least six stages. These included the Main Stage, the NME Stage, the Green Room, the Dance Arena, the New Bands Stage and one new addition, the Pet Sounds Arena.
- The Main Stage was headlined by The Who and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
- The NME Stage was headlined by Richard Ashcroft and Paul Weller.
- The Green Room was headlined by Primal Scream and Rodrigo y Gabriela.
- The Dance Arena was headlined by Erick Morillo and David Morales.
- The New Bands Stage was headlined by Boy Kill Boy and Humanzi.
- The Pet Sounds Arena was headlined by Kasabian and Sigur Rós.
The main acts that played the festival:
Pet Sounds Stage
Pet Sounds Stage
Other acts included:
- "OXEGEN sells out in record time". RTÉ. 2006-03-06. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
- "The Who, Chili Peppers to headline OXEGEN 06". RTÉ. 2006-02-20. Retrieved 2008-01-08.
- "Placebo and Timo Maas for Oxegen". RTÉ. 2006-02-24. Retrieved 2008-01-08.
- "Weller, Charlatans added to OXEGEN lineup". RTÉ. 2006-02-28. Retrieved 2008-01-08.
- "Hard Fi announce Ambassador date". RTÉ. 2006-03-16. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
- "Goldfrapp, Harper added to OXEGEN lineup". RTÉ. 2006-03-02. Retrieved 2008-01-08.
- "Republic of Loose play Dún Laoghaire". RTÉ. 2006-07-03. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
- "Bell X1 announce winter Irish tour". RTÉ. 2006-07-10. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
- "Director, Marshals for Irish New Music Tour". RTÉ. 2006-06-30. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
- or.co.uk/archive/2006/07/10/sorry-but-who-are-you-89520-17353351/ "SORRY, BUT WHO ARE YOU?". Daily Mirror. UK. 2006-07-10. Retrieved 2008-03-08.
- "ZANE ATTACKED BY DPT". Daily Mirror. UK. 2006-07-11. Retrieved 2008-03-08.
- "MTV Footage of "Attack"". YouTube / MTV.
- "SURVEILLANCE". Daily Mirror. UK. 2006-07-11. Retrieved 2008-03-08.
- "Future Shorts Ireland tour Irish festivals". RTÉ. 2006-06-28. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
- "Today in the press - GIG BID TO DRUM UP PENSIONS INTEREST". RTÉ. 2006-04-25. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
- "Eleven killed in seven road accidents". RTÉ. 2006-07-10. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
- "Drivers need to be more careful, says Harney". RTÉ. 2006-07-11. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
- "Full OXEGEN Festival line-up announced". RTÉ. 2006-06-16. Retrieved 2008-01-08.
- Official Oxegen Website
- MCD, Oxegen's Promoters
- Watch clips from Oxegen 2006
- Review of acts at 2006 festival by BBC
- RTÉ Nine News: Oxegen 2006 kicks off in Co Kildare - Kate Carolan reports on the opening of the Oxegen music festival, being held in Punchestown, Co Kildare
- Morning Ireland report - Jenny Huston speaks of her experience at Oxegen 2006
- RTÉ photos of Oxegen 2006
- Irish Sunday Mirror article - "We had to fend for ourselves in Oxegen mayhem"
- Irish Independent article - "How we feared for our lives at Oxegen" (free registration required)
- Irish Times article regarding the controversy - "Oxegen gets the wind knocked out of it"
- Sunday Times article on Boards.ie legal proceedings - "Denis Desmond's web war over Oxegen attacks"
- Indymedia review of 2006 festival and coverage of claims MCD 'buried' online criticism
- A discussion of MCD vs. Boards.ie on Thumped.com
- MCD threatens the Irish Independent and boards.ie
- An extensive summary of the situation as of 20 August, by the Sunday Tribune (free registration required)